It seems almost archaic to even talk about getting television transmis- sions over the airwaves. But for many boaters, this is going to be the
only economically feasible option. In
some areas you can get cable at the dock,
and fixed-dish satellite TV is a reasonable option when you’re moored up. But
once you cast off the lines, neither of
those options will work.
The good news: Although the old-fashioned airwaves don’t carry nearly the
same selection of programming, they’re
still free, and mounting a TV antenna
on your boat is a DIY piece of cake.
Plus, HDTV is far superior to the old
Can’t get enough television?
Boats don’t have cable, and onboard satellite TV is incredibly expensive, but any savvy
DIY boater can add a TV and an antenna for free terrestrial channels
analog broadcasts, on the water as well
as on land.
As is often the case when mounting
an antenna, one of the most important
decisions you make is where to locate
it. According to John Barry, a training
instructor for the National Marine
Electronics Association and Synergist
at Technical Marine Support Inc., a
clear view of the horizon is even more
important than a clear view of the sky.
“These are line-of-sight transmissions,”
Barry said, “so horizontal orientation is
what really counts. As a rule of thumb,
you want to stay at least 4 feet away
from VHF antennas and, of course, stay
DO IT YOURSELF
BY LENNY RUDOW
out of the path of your radar and any
Once you’ve found the best location for
your TV antenna, it’s time to get to work.
1. Choose your television and where
you’d like to locate
it. The key here is
to make sure you
have access to the
back of the bulk-
head (or to the
inside of the cabi-
netry, if you choose
a flip-down under-
counter model) at
the spot where you
tied to the
dock, a TV that
12 volts may
be a good idea.